Roberto Mancini's arrival at Eastlands is likely to be backed up by some serious transfer cash in January, and the Italian's priority will be to strengthen his defence. The club have been linked with Juventus and Italy's Giorgio Chilellini, Brazil international Maicon, Portsmouth's Younes Kaboul, Bolton's Gary Cahill and West Ham's Matthew Upson. Inter Milan's Colombian defender Ivan Cordoba is reportedly on the brink of signing. The 33 year-old is reputed to have fallen out with his manager, José Mourinho. Craig Bellamy will be staying put, despite his disgruntlement at the dismissal of Mark Hughes, and Mancini is likely to give the mercurial Robinho a chance to stake his claim for a regular first-team place. Joe Hart could move permanently to Brum, Wenger has the hots for Craig, Ireland is impressed and Gardening leave is given to new scout Worthington ... but first100 things you didn't know about Roberto Mancini Bollox
1 Mancini is a big fan of James Bond. He is vague about his favourite Bond film - but for City's sake, let's hope it's Goldfinger rather than, say, Dr No.
2 Unsurprisingly, given his love of Bond, Mancini's favourite actor is Sean Connery.
3 His favourite actress, meanwhile, is Michelle Pfeiffer.
4 When he's not enjoying a good Bond film, City's boss likes settling down to read a John Grisham legal thriller.
5 You may not have heard of Mancini's favourite singer - a flamboyant Italian performer called Renato Zero, whose act is part glam-rock, part disco.
6 Mancini always looks immaculate, so it shouldn't come as too much of a shock to learn that he likes to wear Armani suits.
7 He makes an effort when it comes to footwear, too. The Italian orders bespoke shoes from the renowned West London footwear shop Trickers, based on Jermyn Street.
8 His designer gear goes well with his City scarf during matches - but it's not a new look for him. He regularly wore a blue and black bar scarf over his coat when he was boss of Inter Milan.
9 Mancini clearly likes to think big - his official website describes him as a "Campione di Classe". That's a "Champion of Class", just in case you hadn't worked it out. Oh, you had.
10 Mancini is already becoming a crowd favourite at Eastlands, and is only going to get more popular after declaring that his favourite colour is "blue, in all its shades".
11 Apart from Fiorentina, who wear violet, every team he has ever played for or managed has had a significant amount of blue in their strip - Bologna, Sampdoria, Lazio, Leicester, Inter Milan, the Italian national side and now City.
12 Mancini's favourite meal is his mother's baked pasta.
13 His favourite drink, you may be surprised to learn, is Coca Cola.
14 When he's finished polishing off Momma Mancini's pasta al forno, washed down with a Coke, the City boss enjoys a cream slice or a bit of tiramisu for dessert.
15 It seems a bit rude after that not to tell you the names of Mancini's parents - mum Marianna and dad Aldo - who raised him in the small town of Jesi, a few miles inland from Ancona on Italy's Adriatic coast. He has a younger sister, Stephanie.
16 Brought up as a Catholic, Mancini has already made his first visit to St John's Church in Chorlton, where the priest is a big United fan. He attended Mass on Christmas Eve.
17 Mancini is arguably the most famous figure to come out of Jesi, unless you count Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who rose to prominence in the 13th century.
18 Mancini was born in 1964. He shares his birthday, November 27, with Ernie Wise, Jimi Hendrix and martial arts movie star Bruce Lee.
19 For all you horoscope fans, that makes Mancini a Sagittarius. Apparently, this means he is jovial and good humoured but also blindly optimistic and careless.
20 His surname is derived from the Italian word `manco', meaning left-handed. Ironically, Mancini is right-handed.
21 It seems he was always destined to become a professional footballer, as he was snapped up for Bologna's youth team when he was just 13.
22 And he became the youngest player ever to compete in Serie A when he made his debut for Bologna against Cagliari on September 12, 1981, aged just 16.
23 He quickly attracted the attention of Sampdoria, who signed him in the summer of 1982. He would stay for the next 15 years, becoming a club legend in the process.
24 Mancini soon attracted the attention of Italy boss Enzo Bearzot, who gave him his international debut in a friendly against Canada in May 1984.
25Such is Mancini's affection for the city of Genoa - where Sampdoria are based - that he still has a home there.
26 Despite that, however, Mancini says that his favourite city is Rome, where he had spells with Lazio as a player and a manager.
27 He also has a holiday home in the Sardinian resort of Porto Cervo.
28 While he was on holiday there in the summer of 2008, an Italian magazine invaded his family's privacy by publishing a picture of his wife sunbathing topless.
29 Mancini has been married for almost 20 years. He got hitched to Federica Morelli in 1990, and the couple have three children - Filippo, Andrea and Camilla.
30 His two sons, Filippo and Andrea, are budding footballers themselves. Both currently play for Monza in the third tier of Italian football, although Filippo had a stint with City's Academy two seasons ago.
31 Mancini's nickname is `Mancio'.
32 While at Sampdoria in the 1980s Mancini played alongside Brazilian midfielder Toninho Cerezo - who he maintains is the greatest player he has ever seen.
33 Mancini made his name at Sampdoria as a deep-lying second striker in the Teddy Sheringham mould. He wore the No 10 shirt.
34 It was there that he formed a formidable strike partnership with Gianluca Vialli.
35 Vialli became one of Mancini's best buddies and was a guest at his wedding.
36 The duo played a major part in guiding Sampdoria to the only Serie A title in their history, in 1991.
37 Mancini is still spoken of reverentially at Sampdoria, where he scored 133 goals in 424 league appearances - a very impressive strike rate for the notoriously defensive Serie A.
38 But despite that success at club level, Mancini never got to play at a World Cup finals. He was part of the squad for Italia 90, but never got on to the pitch.
39 Mancini's only crack at a major international tournament was Euro 88. He scored in a 1-1 group stage draw against Germany as Italy reached the semi-finals, then lost to the USSR.
40 That was the first of only four goals Mancini scored in 36 games for his country.
41 The closest Mancini got to winning an international trophy was with Italy's Under-21 side. He reached the final of the 1986 Under-21s European Championship.
42 Mancini's international career came to an end after a row with national boss Arrigo Sacchi, who told him he would not be guaranteed a starting place in Italy's 1994 World Cup squad.
43 He had more luck in Europe at club level, lifting the European Cup Winners' Cup twice - once with Sampdoria in 1990, and once with Lazio in 1999.
44 The 2-1 victory over Real Mallorca at Villa Park in 1999 ensured Mancini was a winner in the last-ever European Cup Winners' Cup final.
45 It was while still at Sampdoria that the young Mancini started to show his coaching potential. Coach Vujadin Boskov would sometimes allow him to conduct the half-time team talks.
46 That coaching potential was part of the reason Sven-Goran Eriksson made him his first signing for Lazio in 1997.
47 And guess what? Eriksson was right. The two men guided Lazio to the Serie A title in 2000 - only the second in the club's history.
48 While in Rome, Mancini scored a goal voted the best ever scored in the Italian league - a back heel into the top corner in a 3-1 win over Parma in January 1999 .
49 Mancini was part of the Lazio team that beat United 1-0 in Monaco to win the 1999 European Super Cup.
50 He went on to have a brief spell at Leicester in 2001, after his old mate Vialli told him he'd benefit from experiencing a bit of English football.
51 Mancini's Leicester team-mates were so in awe of him that they nicknamed him "The Legend".
52 He was only at Filbert Street for a month, but during that time regularly popped down to Loughborough University to start learning English.
53 Jessica Alba became good mates with Mancini during his brief time at Leicester. Mancini apparently introduced Alba to the delights of pasta whilst she questioned him on his knowledge of her favorite club ... Manchester City.
54 Mancini played just five games for Leicester, and suffered the indignity of being replaced by Ade Akinbiyi in two of them.
55 In fact, Mancini didn't complete a full 90 minutes for Leicester. He was taken off in four of his five games, and appeared as a half-time substitute in his final appearance, a 2-1 defeat at Everton.
56 City full-back Wayne Bridge has already got one over on his new boss. Bridge was part of the Southampton side that defeated Mancini's Leicester 1-0 in a Premier League game in January 2001.
57 Mancini faced two other members of his City squad during his stint in the East Midlands. He got a 0-0 draw against an Arsenal side featuring Sylvinho, and dumped Gareth Barry's Aston Villa out of the FA Cup. Sweet.
58 That was to be Mancini's only game in the FA Cup as a player, though. He pulled out of Leicester's fifth-round tie against Bristol City to become boss of Fiorentina in February 2001. Well, wouldn't you?
59 He had to get special dispensation from the Italian authorities to take the Fiorentina job because he hadn't got the relevant coaching badges at the time.
60 Mancini's cup run that season lasted longer than Leicester's. While he lifted the Coppa Italia with Fiorentina, the Foxes were humiliatingly dumped out of the FA Cup at home by Wycombe in the quarter-finals.
61 Mancini worked unpaid and received death threats as Fiorentina went into financial meltdown, before quitting after 10 months in the job.
62 He finally called time on his playing career at the age of 36 in May 2001 with the Italian equivalent of a testimonial, titled `Mancio Day'.
63 He won the Coppa Italia again as boss of Lazio in 2004. In fact, he's won at least one trophy with every club he has managed.
64 Mancini's cup record in Italy is unmatched. He has won the Coppa Italia a record seven times during his career.
65 On arriving at City, he declared his ambition to reach the finals of both the Carling Cup and FA Cup this season.
66 Mancini has always maintained that the most important quality a manager needs to be successful is luck.
67 He won the Serie A title three years running during his four years at the Inter Milan helm.
68 The first title came as a result of the match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian football in 2006. Juventus were stripped of the Scudetto after being found guilty of having undue influence on the results of matches.
69 That did little for Mancini's relationship with Fabio Capello, who was boss of Juve at the time - but wasn't implicated in the scandal.
70 Mancini, though, does get on much better with Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, even though they were rival bosses in Milan for four years.
71 They are such good mates, that they agreed to appear together on the Italian TV show La Iene in 2003, answering a series of probing questions about their personal lives.
72During the interview, both men agreed that Mancini had pulled more women that Ancelotti as a player.
73 And while Ancelotti claimed that he had only ever said 'I love you' to one woman in his life, Mancini admitted he had said it to 'a few'.
74 Mancini also admitted on air that he had smoked cannabis during his playing days.
75 Asked to name something he always wanted to do but never did, Mancini replied: "Play for Real Madrid."
76 Mancini was also asked the question: "Who's your master?" His one-word answer: "Eriksson."
77I t was Eriksson who gave Mancini his first crack at coaching by making him assistant boss at Lazio in 2000.
78 Mancini claimed he learned from the Swede 'how to pause and how to think'.
79 The Italian needed all of his cool after seeing his Inter team involved in the most extraordinary brawl in Champions League history in 2007 as Valencia knocked them out. Valencia's David Navarro, a non-playing substitute, ran on to the pitch at full-time and broke the nose of Inter's Nicolas Burdisso.
80 Mancini's 2005 Champions League bid had also ended shamefully. Their quarter-final against neighbours AC Milan had to be aban- doned after Inter fans threw missiles on to the pitch and one hit goalkeeper Dida on the shoulder. Inter were fined £132,000.
81 Mancini hasn't enjoyed much luck in the Champions League. His sacking as Inter boss was sealed when they were dumped out of the competition by Liverpool in 2008.
82 The other factor was his realisation that the club had been negotiating with Jose Mourinho behind his back. That's why he could sympathise with Mark Hughes over the circumstances which brought him to City.
83 At the time of his exit from the San Siro, Mancini was believed to be the highest-paid football manager in the world, on a salary of £9.3m a year.
84 Mancini still had four years left on his contract when he was fired. He finally accepted around £3.5m in compensation.
85 Mancini moved to London after his departure from Inter - partly to brush up on Premier League football, and partly to improve his English so he could take on a top club job over here.
86 He was linked with the manager's jobs at Sunderland and Blackburn soon after moving to England. Last summer he was offered the chance to take change of Notts County, shortly after Eriksson's arrival as director of football.
87 Mancini appears to have given up a crack at next summer's World Cup to take charge at City. He declared an interest in coaching Nigeria at the start of this month, shortly before beginning negotiations with the Blues.
88 The new City boss is a tough taskmaster. Argentinian midfielder Diego Simeone, who played for Mancini at Lazio, described him as "very rigorous and serious in his work".
89 He has set up a temporary home at a city centre hotel and enjoys dining out at nearby Italian restaurants.
90 Mancini is the ninth Italian to manage a team in England. The first two were Sampdoria team-mates of his - with Vialli taking charge of Chelsea early in 1998, around the same time Attilio Lombardo began a brief spell as manager of Crystal Palace.
91 He is one of five Italian bosses currently working in this country. Along with Ancelotti at Chelsea, and Capello with England, there is Gianfranco Zola at West Ham and West Brom's Roberto Di Matteo, who is an Italian national despite being born in Switzerland.
92 If he does lead City to the top four this season, he will become the first man to do it since Tony Book in 1978.
93 Mancini has been in the City job for less than a fortnight but the Eastlands faithful have already come up with a chant for him: "He comes from Italy, has pasta for his tea."
94 City's fans could have worked 'he drives a Bentley' in there as well, because he does. Mancini is passionate about cars.
95 City's boss also owns 25 per cent of Kirafu Yachts, an Italian company which makes boats.
96 When he's not watching football, Mancini loves to take in a game of tennis.
97 Mancini's favourite sportsman is Roger Federer.
98 Mancini likes to spruce himself up with a dab of Creed Millesime Imperial cologne.
99 Ken Barlow has a big role to play in City's push for glory - because Mancini has pledged to watch Coronation Street regularly in order to improve his English.
100 Finally, you might like to know that 'Roberto Mancini' is an anagram of 'ambition corner', which sounds positive.Joe Hart takes swipe at Man City as Birmingham prepare £3.5million permanent deal
England hopeful Hart is glad of the Premier League action with Alex McLeish's club but he is taking the plaudits with a level head after his experience with the other big-money Blues. Hart said: "I take all of the praise with a pinch of salt. One minute you are a great young keeper and the next you are being moved out to bring in someone more experienced." The comment relates to Hart's bitter spell under [strike]Mark Hughes[/strike] the former manager's
when he was chopped to make way for Shay Given despite being in England contention at the time. Hart leapt at the loan chance and will also be happy to sign for Birmingham, with Alex McLeish prepared to take him on permanently. McLeish has already paid £1million in a 'loan fee' to have Hart for the season, and that sum is due to come off the final transfer figure - with City considering selling the up-and-coming star. Wenger admits Bellamy attraction B*ll*x
Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out an audacious move next month for Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy. On the day that one of his long-term targets, Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh, said he would not be moving to the Emirates, the Arsenal manager admitted he would like to bring in Bellamy but fears he will not succeed. Wenger desperately needs to strengthen his forward options after losing Robin van Persie for the rest of the season because of an ankle injury. Bellamy was outstanding for City in their 3-0 victory over Wolves on Monday night, but after initial allegiance to previous manager Mark Hughes, the Welshman has recommitted himself to the club and Roberto Mancini. When questioned about the rumours, Wenger refused to dismiss them out of hand. "I like the player but I've not done anything," he said. Asked if he is going to make a bid, he replied: "I don't think we can buy players from City." Bellamy is one of then most controversial figures in the Premier League, with a charge sheet that includes squaring up to Newcastle coach John Carver at an airport in 2004, accusing Graeme Souness, his manager at Newcastle, of lying in 2005 and swinging a golf club at Liverpool team-mate John Arne Riise in 2007. But Wenger is known to be among his admirers, the forward's determination to win and pace attracting him. The attraction to Bellamy is understandable: he is already playing in the Premier League and would be available for the Champions League knockout stages. But Mancini, the new City manager, has stated his desire to keep Bellamy and the player's wages of £90,000 a week could prove a sticking point for Arsenal. Wenger has most of the £41m received from City in the summer for Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor to spend. Other strikers the club are interested in include Toulouse's Andre-Pierre Gignac and Carlton Cole of West Ham.Man City snubbed by Palermo defender despite Mancini's claims to the contrary
Roberto Mancini has been snubbed by Palermo defender Simon Kjaer - despite denials by the Manchester City boss that he is interested. Palermo are understood to have had the Danish centre-back's £12million minimum fee release clause triggered by City. But Kjaer is understood to have insisted he would prefer to see out the season in Italy. It means City will have to brace themselves for a summer battle to persuade one of the most well-regarded defenders in Europe that his future lies with them. It is a blow for Mancini who had made 6ft 2in Kjaer his prime target for the January transfer window, despite the two clean sheets the Italian has seen City keep in their last two games. A whole host of European clubs - including Manchester United - have been alerted to Kjaer's talents for some time.He signed for Palermo from FC Midtjylland Herring at the start of last season for just £3.8million.In his 16 games this season for Palermo he has scored twice and has impressed with his performances.According to IMScouting, who have close links to clubs, agents and football figures from across the world, Kjaer wants to play at the World Cup for Denmark then decide on his future in the summer.The news conflicts with Mancini's claim just days ago that is has no interest in the player to strength his backline.He said: "For now I am in training with the team and I have to think about other things."Does the Danish defender interest us? Currently we have other thoughts. We don't think of Kjaer." Roberto Mancini makes an instant impression at Manchester City
Stephen Ireland has insisted that the Manchester City squad are already embracing the Roberto Mancini ethos after admitting the players had no option but to move on from the sacking of [strike]Mark Hughes[/strike]the former manager
. Mancini, the former Inter Milan coach, has claimed that City can still challenge for the Premier League title this season after guiding his new team to successive victories against Stoke City and Wolves. City's transformation under the Italian has been instant, with the team registering back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since August in his two games in charge. The manner of [strike]Hughes's[/strike] the former manager's
dismissal, with Mancini already lined up as his replacement, has ensured widespread criticism of the City hierarchy.
Within the dressing room, senior players were also unhappy at the treatment of the Welshman. But midfielder Ireland, who has publicly credited [strike]Hughes[/strike] the former manager
with revitalising his career at Eastlands, admits that he and his team-mates have adjusted quickly to life under Mancini. Ireland said following Monday's 3-0 victory at Wolves: "The change of manager was a shock to the system for everyone in the dressing room. We didn't really see it coming, but we are professionals and we have to get on with it. "Football moves on very quickly. We have to train every day and prepare for games, so there is no time to dwell on these things. "You just have to respect the decision and adjust to the new manager's ideas and get used to his ways. If you want to be part of things here, and be part of where we are going, then you just have to get on with things. "I have already played under loads of managers here. They have come and gone and it is a shame. It could happen to anyone in football, but you have to put it behind you as quickly as possible." With Mancini favouring a 4-4-2 formation at Eastlands, Ireland is facing a battle with Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong to claim his favoured central midfield role. But the former Republic of Ireland international admits that Mancini has already made it clear to his players that he expects City to be a passing team under his management. Ireland said: "The manager has got everyone together and he is keen for the staff to bond as quickly as possible with the players. He has also encouraged us to play football on the floor and only play it long as a last resort. "The manager has stressed over and over since he arrived that we have to stay switched on and that concentration is vital." Mancini is keen to make Inter Milan's Colombian defender Ivan Cordoba his first signing when the transfer window opens on Friday, but any new arrivals will be ineligible for Saturday's FA Cup third-round trip to Middlesbrough. As a result, Spanish defender Javier Garrido is set to retain his place at full-back after impressing in Mancini's first two games in charge. Prior to Mancini's arrival, Garrido had not figured for City this season.
Lurgie: Anyone can win the league this season - even Manchester City!http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Ai ... 70943.htmlKolo Toure gutted to be leaving Roberto Mancini's Manchester City for Africa Cup of Nations
Manchester City captain Kolo Toure has cursed the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations.
City have won their two games against Stoke [2-0] and Wolves [3-0] under new boss Roberto Mancini and defender Toure admits there is a buzz around Eastlands. But the 28-year-old will spend January in Angola with his Ivory Coast team-mates and he said: 'It is bad timing because we have just had two good results. Perhaps the competition can be staged another time in future. 'We have been working very hard on the tactics at City and I think we are doing well. This is the second clean sheet and we hope that we keep going on like that.' He told the Daily Mirror: 'We our glad with the latest three points. It was a really tough game at Wolves and we played really well. We know we can scored goals and will get results as long as we defend together.'TRANSFER BOLLOX
Liverpool are hoping to land Real Madrid's Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, 33, on a six-month loan deal.Daily Mail
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is a £20m target for Real Madrid, with the Spanish giants set to make a move for the Serbian international at the end of the season.The Sun
Vidic could cost Real Madrid £30m, with United interested in replacing him with Everton's Jack Rodwell, 18, and Porto's Bruno Alves. The Times
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could line up a January move for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris - but he will have to pay Lyon £20m for the France international. Daily Mirror
However, Wenger will step up his bid to sign 15-year-old QPR striker Raheem Sterling. Daily Mirror
West Ham United's sporting director Gianluca Nani insists they are not interested in signing Fiorentina's Romanian striker Adrian Mutu.The Independent
Everton will face competition from Arsenal and Manchester United to sign 17-year-old Belgian winger Maxime Lestienne. The Excelsior Mouscron star has been offered a trial after being recommended by Toffees midfielder Marouane Fellaini.The Sun
Meanwhile, Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is also planning a £2m move for Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy.The Sun
Burnley are close to signing Algeria captain Yazid Mansouri for £1m from French club Lorient. The 31-year-old midfielder will spend most of January at the African Cup of Nations. Daily Mail
Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell wants to sign Greg Halford on loan after the versatile wide man fell out of favour with Wolves manager Mick McCarthy.Daily Mirror
Wolves are weighing up a £1.5m bid for Derby County winger Kris Commons. (Daily Mail)
Newcastle will offer Leeds £1.25m for striker Jermaine Beckford, who can leave on a free transfer in the summer.The Sun
Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan is planning to offer Celtic £6m for centre-back Stephen McManus, midfielder Barry Robson and Australian striker Scott McDonald.The Sun
Meanwhile striker Scott McDonald insists he would be happy to finish his career at Celtic, despite reports linking him with a move to England. The Herald
Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies is lining up a £750,000 move for Swansea's Spanish midfielder Andrea Orlandi. (Daily Star)
Sochaux chief Alexandre Lacombe has confirmed he is planning a January swoop to bring Rangers striker Kris Boyd to the French outfit. The Mail WAG OF THE DAY - Daniela Cicarellihttp://www.thespoiler.co.uk/index.php/2 ... -cicarelliOTHER BOLLOX
Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack expects to agree a new two-year contract extension to take him to June 2012 - and beyond his 35th birthday.The Telegraph
London-based financial company Intermarket will submit a bid to take control of West Ham United on Monday. The Telegraph
Former Stockport and Motherwell boss Jim Gannon is in the frame to replace Alan Irvine as Preston North End boss. (The Times)
Alternatively, Preston may opt for former Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson.
West Ham right-back Julien Faubert has revealed Tottenham fans and players have been "taking the mickey" out of him in the street. Faubert, who was in the West Ham side beaten 2-0 by Spurs on Monday, lives in an area where many Tottenham fans and players reside. (The Sun)Middlesbrough will have to play teenage strikeforce against Man City in Cup
Gordon Strachan fears he'll be forced to field a rookie strikeforce with a combined age of just 35 when injury-hit Middlesbrough take on the might of Manchester City. Strachan is ready to throw 16-year-old Luke Williams and Jonathan Franks, 19, into Saturday's FA Cup tie against the world's richest club. The Boro boss is down to the bare bones with Leroy Lita suspended, Jeremie Aliadiere an injury doubt and Marcus Bent and Dave Kitson at the end of loan spells. Williams became Boro's youngest player for over a century at 16 years and five months when he came on in Monday's 2-1 Championship defeat at Barnsley - a game that saw fellow Teessider Franks make his first start. The youthful pair cost nothing as they came through the ranks. Their combined age is just two years older than City keeper Shay Given, and Strachan said: "We haven't got a single striker at the club. "We'll patch things up and do what we can. We've had a lot of injuries come at the same time and it's stretching us to the limit."
Defender David Wheater may be pushed into an emergency striker's role, but Williams insists he won't be overawed by Roberto Mancini's billionaire City slickers if he gets the nod at the Riverside. The teenage academy product said: "The manager's taken me under his wing and given me my first real chance."It's all come so fast because this season I was just hoping to play for the Under-18s but now I'd love to figure more for the first team."Why Joe Hart is a certainty to start for England at the World Cup betting BLOG
Yesterday I made three New Year resolutions: 1. Not to bet any more. 2 Not to bet any less. 3. Only to place bets that win. 4. Never to bet more than I can afford to lose - unless it's a really good thing. But last night I had a re-think and have found room for No.5 - keep backing Joe Hart like he's a certainty to start in England's opening World Cup match, for the simple reason that Joe Hart is a certainty to start England's opening World Cup match. If you think this is a knee-jerk reaction to Hart's superb performances in the Birmingham goal over Christmas you'd be only half-right. Hart has been superb all season but what makes the 9-2 offered by Bet365 so unmissable is that the two keepers ahead of him in the betting are David James and Rob Green. That would be the Rob Green who next May will very likely be coming to terms with a future as a Championship keeper and the David James who next May will be coming to terms with a future as an inn-keeper. Hart is a certainty to be on the plane to Africa (Bet365 offer 8-13 for that) and in his current form he'd be able to handle even a radicalised Nigerian. With him between the sticks Birmingham have conceded just 18 goals in 20 Premier League games - a terrific record made to look even better when you realise Green has shipped 37.To start against USA (Bet365): 15-8 R Green, D James, 9-2 J Hart, 8-1 B Foster, 10-1 P Robinson.FINAL BOLLOXChelsea put top talent spotter on gardening leave in bid to block move to Manchester City
Chelsea have put top spy Gary Worthington on gardening leave - in a bid to stop his move to rivals Manchester City. Worthington is quitting the Stamford Bridge club, where he was their leading talent-spotter of young players, to take up a similar post at Eastlands. However Chelsea are unhappy with the move - despite Worthington citing personal reasons for going back north - and will not let him go immediately. Worthington knows all of Chelsea's targets and they are worried that City will step in ahead of them when it comes to landing the best young players. The ban will stop Worthington working for City immediately, but it seems unworkable if it is designed to prevent him passing on his dossiers of leading players.